More than 80 children were treated to an exciting day at the tennis on Wednesday, as they participated in the Lacoste Special Needs Tennis Clinic.
In partnership with Lacoste and the Clark Francis Tennis Academy, the clinic served up lessons, lunch, and a visit from top WTA players for children from Al Noor, Dubai Centre for Special Needs, Rashid Pediatric Centre, the Dubai Autism Centre and Manzil School.
The Lacoste Special Needs Clinic is specifically designed to offer a fun tennis experience for children with special needs, and they were delighted to be joined by WTA players Elena Vesnina and Arantxa Parra Santonja, who took to the court.
“It’s good fun to get out with the kids and see a smile on their faces, they’re great kids and it’s good to be here,” said Vesnina.
Tournament mascots Ace and Annette also joined in the fun.
Sol Goodwin, a teacher at Dubai Centre for Special Needs said: “The children all love today, it is the one day that they get excited for every year. When we tell them it is the tennis day they all light up with smiles. Everyone had a chance to hit a ball and they all received a t-shirt and cap which they all wore while on the court.”
"It is the one day that they get excited for every year" – Goodwin
The children were delighted to be at the tennis, with one of them, Sheikha Al Kharbash from Dubai Center for Special Needs saying: “Best part of the day was meeting a real player. Wow, she was super nice.”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said: “It is wonderful to see these children enjoying the tennis and being part of the tournament. They have many challenges in life and it is great to see them having such a lovely time”.
Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added: “Tennis is a sport that everyone can enjoy and we are happy to be able to offer this opportunity to be involved in the tournament to these wonderful young people. It is great to see them having so much fun,” said Tahlak.
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